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Luis Benitez led a group of five White Buffalos who received postseason honors.

Five Madras boys soccer players were honored by the Tri-Valley Conference this season, a group headlined by senior forward Luis Benitez. All three of the team's senior captains received accolades, in addition to another senior and one freshman.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Madras senior captain Luis Benitez was named to the All-Tri Valley first team after scoring six goals this season.Benitez led the charge by being named to the All-TVC first team, thanks to a team-leading six goals on the season. Two of those goals came from direct free kicks from more than 30 yards out, shots that head coach Clark Jones described as "grown man kicks." Benitez was the team's most vocal player on the field and its most creative in the attacking game.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Senior captain Israel Estrada was named to the All-Tri Valley second team for his efforts in the Madras midfield.Fellow captain Israel Estrada was named to the all-league second team. Estrada helped initiate the Madras offense out of the central midfield and racked up multiple assists throughout the year. He was also a lynchpin of the Buffs' defense, stopping many opposing attacks before they amounted to anything. Estrada was also one of the team's most talented dribblers.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Madras freshman Steve Gonzalez made the All-Tri Valley second team after scoring six goals in his first season.Freshman striker Steve Gonzalez was also named to the second team after a late flurry of goals put him into a tie with Benitez at six. Despite the young player's strong season, Jones was not so sure that the league would reward it as much as they did.

"For me, the big surprise was Steve," said Jones. "I think three goals in the last two games made some sort of impact. Great way to end the year for him!"

Rounding out the selections for the Madras team were seniors Ethan Tapia and Andrew Pineda.

Tapia commanded the right wing for the Buffs, playing most of his time in the defense. He was one of the fastest and most aggressive players on the team. Tapia used those attributes in tandem at times, creating offense seemingly out of thin air from the back. He had four goals on the season.

Pineda, on the other hand, was more of a dyed-in-the-wool defender. While the central defense was a bit more porous, Pineda held down the fort on the left side. He used a strong center of gravity to win tackles and displayed good decision-making in clearing balls out of play.

With four of these players departing, including a good deal of offensive production, the Buffs will need its younger athletes to step up. Encouragingly, one of its youngest — freshman Steve Gonzalez — is already turning heads around the league.

First team – Luis Benitez, senior, forward.

Second team – Israel Estrada, senior, midfielder; Steve Gonzalez, senior, forward.

Honorable mention – Ethan Tapia, senior, defender/midfielder; Andrew Pineda, senior, defender.


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